27 Apr 2010

Irrigating for National Security

JM and JWT sent this surreal article:
Lemoore Naval Air Station's 18-thousand acres lie entirely within the Westland's water district, the district most affected by the severe reductions in water imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to protect "endangered species" in the delta.

But without that water, Capt Knapp says, his "partner" farmers who cultivate the 12-thousand acres of farmland around his air station cannot do their job. A job he depends upon to accomplish his mission.

"What does farming do for NAS Lemoore and air operations? We pick crops that do not attract birds," Knapp says.
Besides the reporter's interesting use of "endangered," we also have here an interesting example of brain failure, some notion that failure to deliver water will lead to dead airmen. (This is no accident. The reporter - Torres - has more "articles" like this. Is he a Westlands employee?)

If the air force wants non-bird crops, then the air force can get non-bird crops, no matter who is in charge or how much water they get. That's because the air force can kill anyone who disagrees... duh.

Bottom Line: There is no national security interest behind water deliveries. Stick with contracts and the rule of law, not fear and propaganda.


  1. Yeah, makes a lot of sense to have a vital strategic asset that says it's dependent on an uncertain water supply. And Lemoore is, of course, a very vital facility, since it alone has kept the Imperial Japanese Navy from a sneak amphibian assault on California, aided by the bloodthirsty and drug crazed Mexicans and Canadians. If only they'd send a squadron of A-10s to subdue those dang Comanches what hold up the mail coach!

  2. SS says: "Jet airplanes can crash if large birds are sucked into the engines (see Hudson River crash example), hence most airports discourage wild bird flocks and native habitat near runways. Military bases also depend upon ag leases to support their natural resource budgets."

  3. SS clarifies: "your FeedFlare/Burner cut me off twice so I shortened my reply. I get your point about using national security scare tactics to get subsidized water for irrigating this USAF base's ag lands. My point is that the Air Force has both an economic incentive to keep that water coming (ag lease income = natural resource staff / projects for the base) and a safety incentive (non-bird crops = no bird crashes). Fallowed fields due to no water delivery = no income and uncertainty over flying safety. Propose changing the incentive system for the USAF!"

  4. You miss a few very important points in this blog, revealing at least a lack of understanding of military operations and at most, a disregard for the safety of our armed forces, even here at home.

    The Navy promotes farming operations around Lemoore Naval Air Station for several important reasons. They require large amounts of open space around a base that focuses on training flight crews. Birds attracted to non-farmed land pose a danger to those flight operations. Crop growing activities also help the Navy mitigate air quality issues in the region. Those are important issues for the pilots and for the residents of the surrounding communities.

    Your research appears sloppy as you repeatedly refer to the Air Force when, in fact, the facility is a Navy base. And your assertion that the Air Force can get non-bird crops if they want because, “the air force can kill anyone who disagrees...” is simply ridiculous and irresponsible. Mike Wade/CA Farm Water Coalition

  5. @Mike -- Navy. Fine. Lost your sense of humor?

    You can plant native cover crops without water.

    Or would that blow the whole plan for "let's like water flows to national security"?


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